Largest ever PACK EXPO International opens in Chicago

Major packaging industry growth forecast by PMMI


The largest PACK EXPO International and co-located Healthcare Packaging EXPO opened on 14 October 2018. It was a Sunday and while the show floors were not crowded, there was a steady flow of visitors. On the second day of the show, the exhibits are crowded and even getting on the bus to show from the hotel in the morning meant waiting in a long line for the next one.

Not only is it a large turnout of exhibitors and visitors, the show, which is on till 17 October, takes place amidst upbeat reports from around the world but especially from the US market. The newly released State of the Industry U.S. Packaging Machinery Report by PMMI, the owner and producer of PACK EXPO, indicates that packaging machinery shipments in the US alone are forecast to grow from US$ 8.4 billion in 2017 to US$ 10.5 billion by 2023 at CAGR of 4.1%. Bringing together 2,500 exhibitors and 50,000 attendees across 1.25 million net square feet of McCormick Place exhibit space, PACK EXPO International and Healthcare Packaging EXPO are the biggest packaging events this year.

“With so much growth in the packaging industry, PACK EXPO International is an invaluable event. It gives exhibitors and attendees the opportunity to see solutions from other vertical industries to assist in addressing production challenges and boost their company’s ability to innovate,” states Jim Pittas, president and chief exevutive officer, PMMI. “You can learn firsthand the latest innovations in the industry to be on the forefront of your business.”

According to PMMI’s State of the Industry Report, food represented the largest packaging machinery sector in 2017 in the US, accounting for 36.6% of shipment revenues, followed by beverage at 22.1%. The pharmaceuticals sector is expected to grow the fastest to 2022, at a CAGR of 3.5%. While the largest machinery type category in 2017 was case handling at 15.1%, bottling line machinery is forecast to grow the fastest to 2023, with a CAGR of 5.3%.

Additionally, eCommerce has influenced much of the US packaging market growth with the first quarter of 2018 eCommerce sales accounting for 9.5% of total retail sales, according to PMMI’s recent eCommerce report – ‘Think Inside the Box’. “Across all demographics, from Baby Boomers to Generation Z, a growing number of people are purchasing a large portion of their products online with greater frequency than ever before,” says Paula Feldman, director of business intelligence, PMMI. “eCommerce operations need advanced equipment in order to keep up with demand; manufacturers are investing in smarter, automated functionality to achieve a greater level of machine flexibility.”

Our initial impressions gathered in conversations with 10 exhibitors, including some of the Indian converters at the show, indicate that the growth in packaging is currently a worldwide phenomenon. While many of the concerns are similar around the world, the growth rates and the solutions are more varied. Keep tuned in to Packaging South Asia for a detailed coverage of the show.